When we talk about the secret language of relationships, we usually think of nonverbal communication, right? It’s something we use every day to read people and form opinions about who they are. Even if we actively practice being tolerant and nonjudgmental, we still have thoughts about what we see and what we experience that come automatically and often unconsciously.
That person is upset; she is relaxed and happy. That guy seems nervous. There goes a successful go-getter; what a lazy bum!
Being able to read unspoken cues can help us learn about a person’s true intentions and state of mind. This is important information that satisfies a basic need for survival: am I safe? And while survival is not usually in question in our daily interactions, the need to guarantee it is an instinctual process that is always turned on. Simply stated, we are wired to judge people!
Ok, so here’s the big question: if we read people, what are we reading them with? Where do our conclusions, judgments, and opinions really come from?
Ah, the answer to these questions is where we can find another secret language of relationships that is just as important as nonverbal communication, and one that could help us find a lot more peace and harmony if we brought it to the surface of awareness.
Everything that is communicated to us must pass through a filter of our past experiences, which means…
It is our own life story that determines our perspective and subsequent interpretation of the world and the people in it.
Whew! Gotta let that one sink in!
Life story à Perspective à Thoughts, Opinions, Beliefs
To harness the power of this secret, we must be open to the idea that our perspective is not the same as anyone else’s. Always true, but sometimes hard to remember. And when we acknowledge that our opinions are dependent on our own perspectives, it gives us a new mind-bending definition of arrogance, minus the usual criticism, that sums it up:
Arrogance is when one assumes that his or her own perspective is the same one that everyone else has.
Wait a minute… isn’t it?
Never. And your perspective is only completely true for you.
When we are engaged in conversation, discrepancies between spoken words and nonverbal messages are picked up, consciously and/or unconsciously. How we INTERPRET these mismatches is dependent on the ‘glasses’ we wear to read with, where glasses = past experience and cultural influence.
So what does this mean? The secret language of relationships is YOU, meaning your filter of past experience through which all new information must pass to be interpreted and understood. The trick to decoding this and using it to ease conflict is to...
...know yourself and practice observing your interactions from a place of neutrality.
Good luck and stay tuned! Next we will show you how to do this and look at a real life example of how this language of perspective can affect a relationship!